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Lotions and Creams: How to Make Your Own- Issue #37

Weekly newsletter of Ancestral Herbiary
Lotions and Creams: How to Make Your Own- Issue #37
By Ifayomi Fasola • Issue #37 • View online
The transition from Winter to Spring can be trying on the skin; and the harsh chemicals and fragrances of store-bought lotions can cause flares in dryness, eczema, and breakouts. This week, I’d like to discuss variations, ingredients, and benefits of making your own lotion!

Types of Lotion
Medicinal lotions usually contain antiseptic or germicidal substances used to treat skin maladies, or they contain substances cooling and soothing to irritated skin, and healing to broken or bruised skin.
Some lotions are a blend of liquid solutions, while others are either emulsions (a dispersion of droplets of a liquid in a second liquid with which it is insoluble) or suspensions (for our purposes, a finely divided solid dispersed in a liquid—the solid settles out more or less rapidly). The emulsions and suspensions frequently contain insoluble bodies that should be in a condition to diffuse easily when the liquid is shaken.
Cosmetic lotions normally contain nourishing, softening, moisturizing, and aromatic substances.
The use of vegetable oils in cosmetic preparations, such as creams, hand lotions, and cold creams, for dry skin is very extensive. The following are the most commonly used vegetable oils
  • Olive oil
  • Almond oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Cocao butter
  • Coconut oil
These fixed oils are insoluble (immiscible) in water, but are capable of being mixed with water by the assistance of an emulsifier, forming an emulsion.
As defined above, an emulsion is the mixture of oils and water; in order to stabilize this emulsion, a third agent is generally necessary; this is called an emulsifying agent or an emulsifier. For our purposes in making lotions and creams this means we can get a much higher proportion of oil to disperse in the water.
Natural Emulsifying Agents
  • Beeswax
  • Hydrous lanolin
  • Glycerin
  • Lecithin
Avoid using too high a percent of either glycerin, lanolin, or lecithin, for they can make a lotion somewhat sticky; a half to three-quarters of a teaspoon of any one or a combination of these per 8 oz. cup of lotion is sufficient. Lotions and creams tend to thicken a bit as they age.
Lotions and creams (and salves and Hp balms, etc.) can be colored by the addition of various herbal oil infusions. 
  • Alkanet Root oil gives a soft pink to deep red color
  • Dried Turmeric or Calendula petals renders a bright-hued yellow
  • Nettle, or Plantain, or Comfrey leaf lend a delightful green color.
Lotions and creams can be enriched by the addition of other herbal agents.
Royal jelly, propolis, honey, and pollen blend magically with the water and oil portions of lotions and creams carrying with them an enormous array of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that nourish our body and enhance our wellness.
Herbal tinctures and/or liquid concentrates including Aloe vera juice and aromatic hydrosols or floral waters (see Chapter Ten, “Distillation of Hydrosols”) can be included in a lotion as part of the water content, bringing with them a host of nutritional and therapeutic actions. Your whimsical imagination (and accumulating experience) can arrange and rearrange these ingredients into unique formulas that suit your personal needs and creative inspiration. 
As an initial step to preserve your lotions and creams, you should sterilize all the equipment you use to manufacture them, and sterilize all the containers (including the lids) you use to store the products.
Avoid using your fingers to apply a lotion or cream, for fingertips readily inoculate the emulsion with microorganisms that will spoil the lotion as they joyfully procreate at rates even faster than the speed of human reproduction. Instead, pour your lotions into a plastic squeeze bottle or a bottle having a pump dispenser that permits the accurate dispersing of the liquid on targeted areas in convenient quantities.
This eliminates the need to touch the lotion with your fertile fingers. Use a cosmetic spatula or some other small instrument to scoop and apply more viscous creams.
Whenever you use a jar or a bottle as a holding and dispensing container, wipe off the lid after each and every use. Like regular flossing of teeth, this action greatly inhibits the land-squatting activities of microorganisms by surprising and temporarily disorganizing them.
Preservative Agents
Essential oils are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and are probably the most easily incorporated, but when including them in a formula you will need to take into account their properties and aromas.
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Benzoin
  • Rose Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil
Adding Vitamin E oil for an antioxidant to the oil portion of a recipe also provides a concentrated restorative food for the skin. A couple of 200 IU capsules expressed into 8 ounces of the lotion will do quite well. And, of course, refrigeration is one of your most reliable preservatives.
This preparation is gently astringent, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing to the skin.
It is a toning agent that can be used after skin cleansing for sensitive, dry, weather-damaged, and mature skin.
It is especially soothing and healing for chapped or dry skin, eczema, or psoriasis.
Suggested herbal agents are listed following this base lotion recipe.
1. Mix together 600 ml (20 fl. oz.) of Rosewater (Rose hydrosol)
    45 ml (1 ½ fl. oz.) of glycerin.
2. 60 ml (2 fl. oz.) of absolute alcohol can be added to this as a preservative.
This is optional and only necessary if one intends to take this lotion on the road where it will be stored in varying temperatures. If refrigeration is available, or if one adds any of the following alcohol-containing tinctures to the base, this step is probably unnecessary.
Vulnerary, Anti-inflammatory Lotion
Add Arnica tincture 60 ml (2 fl. oz.) to create a vulnerary; anti-inflammatory lotion for washing sprains and bruises; for providing relief of rheumatic pain and the pain and inflammation of phlebitis, or whenever there is pain and inflammation of the skin.
Anti-inflammatory, Vulnerary, and Anti-fungal Lotion
Add Calendula tincture 60 ml (2 fl. oz.) to create an anti-inflammatory, vulnerary, anti-fungal lotion useful for relieving inflammation of the skin. (This can be used on an open wound.)
Antiseptic Lotion
Add Goldenseal tincture 7 to 15 ml (¼ to ½ fl. oz.) and Myrrh tincture 30 ml (1 fl. oz.) for an antiseptic lotion.
Vulnerary, Astringent, and Demulcent Wash
Add Comfrey 60 ml (2 fl. oz.) tincture as a vulnerary, astringent, and demulcent wash to assist the healing of external ulcers, for washing wounds and fractures, varicose veins, and ulcers.
*Using any kitchen blender will work to mix your lotions
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Ifayomi Fasola

I’m Iya Ifayomi! She/Her. Onisegun. Herbalist. Isese. Ifa, Egbe, & Olokun priestess. Rootworker. Mvskokxe. 2 headed. Bone Reader 🦴 Venmo:@ifayomifasola

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